BERLIN – An electric crew from Berlin traveled to Florida this week to help restore power in the wake of Hurricane Irma.
Electric Utility Director Tim Lawrence and two other electric department employees are expected to spend about 10 days in Clewiston, Florida, working to help in Hurricane Irma recovery efforts.
“The council and I are grateful to be able to send some of our town’s talented and experienced electric utility crew members to provide much needed help to the residents of Clewiston,” Mayor Gee Williams said.
A mutual aid agreement with the American Public Power Association (APPA) approved by the town council Monday made the trip possible. While the town is a member of American Municipal Power, the nonprofit does not represent utilities in the Southeast. Public electric utilities in Florida belong instead to APPA.
“We needed to have the APPA agreement in place to be able to recover the costs associated with helping Florida residents,” Town Administrator Laura Allen said.
While the town will still have the majority of its electric department on staff while the crew is in Florida, Choptank Electric Cooperative will provide assistance if necessary.
“We have a longstanding mutual aid agreement with Choptank Electric Cooperative who will be backing-up our electric utility employees, if needed, while the three town employees are out of town,” Williams said. “Choptank Electric confirmed their availability to back us up, if necessary.”
Lawrence, who has participated in other recovery efforts prior to coming to Berlin, said he was looking forward to helping those in need. He added that by providing help, the Town of Berlin would be able to get help if it ever needed it thanks to the mutual aid agreement.
“I’ve been on several of these type of things during my time in the electric field,” he said. “It’s really a good thing. You’re helping people to get power restored and it goes hand in hand. If we have an issue here, they would be here to help us.”